INMATE AND FAMILY INDICTED ON TAX FRAUD CHARGES
Jeffrey H. Sloman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Daniel W. Auer, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, announced that Shawn Clarke, a prison inmate, and three members of his family Sally Frost, his mother, Deanna Heder, his sister, and William Clarke, his brother, were charged in a 25-count indictment unsealed today for their alleged participation in a scheme to file fraudulent tax returns on behalf of inmates in the Monroe County Jail, in Key West, FL, and others.
More specifically, the defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the IRS by submitting false tax information and claims for refunds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 286. The defendants are also charged individually with various counts of making false statements to the IRS by causing the filing of false federal income tax returns and supporting documents, in violation of Title 18, Untied States Code, Section 287. Defendants Frost, Heder and William Clarke made their initial appearances in federal court this afternoon. Defendant Shawn Clarke is in custody and will make his initial appearance later this month.
According to the indictment, defendant Shawn Clarke, 37, an inmate housed primarily at the Monroe County Jail, began a scheme to defraud the IRS by recruiting and submitting false tax return forms in the name of fellow inmates, former inmates and relatives, for tax years 2004 through 2007. These returns falsely claimed that the purported taxpayers had been employed and paid withholding taxes during the years in question. In fact, however, Shawn Clarke knew that the purported taxpayers had not worked as reported, had not earned the reported income, and had not had income withheld as claimed.
To execute the scheme, Shawn Clarke recruited his mother, sister and brother, co-defendants Sally Frost, 63, of Delray Beach, Deanna Heder, 39, of Ft. Myers, and William Clarke, 40, of Delray Beach, FL, respectively, to receive the resulting IRS refund checks. Shawn Clarke also instructed the co-defendants to cash the checks, sometimes using fraudulent powers of attorneys. Once the checks were cashed, the co-defendants gave the cash to inmate Shawn Clarke, who divided the proceeds between himself, the co-defendants, and the complicit inmates.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum possible statutory sentence of 10 years in prison on the conspiracy count, and a maximum of up to 5 years in prison on each count of making a false claim to the IRS.
Mr. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and the IRS, Criminal Investigation Division, for their work on this case. Mr. Sloman also thanked the Key West Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their assistance in the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aurora Fagan.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.